by Brendan Burke with Dave Eminian || AHL On The Beat Archive
All too often some unlucky member of the Peoria Rivermen was left wondering what hit him in a game against the Milwaukee Admirals the last few seasons.
Often, the answer was Scott Ford.
Clean, hard, physical blows, fearless shot-blocking and a captaincy all came as standard equipment on this 6-foot-3, 217-pound Ford, who joined the St. Louis Blues organization as a free agent in July after spending the previous four seasons in Milwaukee.
And with a front-row view of those attributes last season, the Admirals’ Victor Bartley is well-prepared to face Ford on a regular basis.
“I’m looking forward to going heel-to-heel with him and making some plays,” Bartley said, laughing. “We made a little deal before the start of the season. I agreed not to take him wide and he agreed not to land a huge shot on me.
Bartley played 76 games for Milwaukee last season, and notched nine goals with 30 assists and a plus-12 rating. Ford turned in 75 games with four goals, seven assists and a plus-24 rating.
They formed one of the best tandems in the Western Conference.
“Victor is still sub-leasing my apartment in Milwaukee,” Ford said, grinning. “He was my ‘D’ partner all last year, a great player, great guy. We teamed up well on the ice.”
“Seriously, Scott was a great captain, always there to talk to,” Bartley said. “He is a good, calm guy, leads by example, blocks shots, sacrifices his body for the team.”
This Ford also comes with a ‘C’ in Peoria. The big defenseman was appointed new captain of the 31-year franchise by head coach Dave Allison to start the season.
“Coming in here as a new player, and for an organization to bestow this honor on me,” Ford said. “I feel blessed and I’m excited. I have guys in there who have expressed a belief in me and what direction they want the organization to go in.”
“We know what to expect from the Rivermen under his leadership,” Bartley said. “He’ll do the same for Peoria that he did for us.”
“I spent four years in that organization and I know how they play,” Ford said. “I’m really excited to play against them.”
And he will certainly get his chance with the Admirals being Peoria’s most frequent opponent this season. His Rivermen teammates can take some comfort in the fact that this Ford is moving in their direction.